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Manor signs Mercedes F1 junior Esteban Ocon to replace Rio Haryanto

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Manor signs Mercedes F1 junior Esteban Ocon to replace Rio Haryanto
Aug 10, 2016, 10:56 AM

Esteban Ocon will replace Rio Haryanto at the Manor Racing Formula 1 team for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Esteban Ocon will replace Rio Haryanto at the Manor Racing Formula 1 team for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Ocon, who is a Mercedes junior driver, has been loaned to Renault to be its reserve driver this season and he will make his F1 debut at the Belgian Grand Prix later this month.

“I’m thrilled that I’ll be making my Grand Prix debut with Manor Racing later this month, and at Spa, of all circuits, which is the next best thing to my home race,” Ocon said when the news was announced. “I’m ready for this exciting step up, thanks to the experience I’ve gained as a Formula 1 Reserve Driver this season.

Esteban Ocon

“I’d like to thank Renault Sport F1 Team and Mercedes-Benz for working together to make this happen, and to Manor Racing for the opportunity, which I’m going to grab with both hands.

“I’ve visited the Manor Technical Centre already, for my seat fit and to meet with the wider team, so we’ll be ready to hit the ground running after the summer break. They’ve done a great job this season and I’m excited that I’ve been tasked with helping them to build on that progress. I can’t wait to get started!”

Manor terminated Haryanto’s contract after the Indonesian driver failed to generate more financial resources. He was previously only funded through to the Hungarian Grand Prix but was allowed to contest the German race as well.

Rio Haryanto

Mercedes rates Ocon highly and the French driver won the FIA European Formula 3 title in 2014 – ahead of Max Verstappen – and the GP3 championship last year.

“We are very pleased that this opportunity has opened up for Esteban, that Manor has again had the confidence to give a chance to a promising young talent and that the good collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Renault has allowed this to come together,” said Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

“We have seen this year that, in the right circumstances, the Manor Racing car is capable of points. Manor is just the right environment for a young driver to get his first experience of F1: a professional, small team that is on a positive upward trend and where the driver can make a real difference.

Esteban Ocon

“Esteban did an exceptional job in the works Mercedes at the Silverstone test and we are excited to see him take his first steps in an F1 race environment."

Manor’s racing director, Dave Ryan, described Ocon as “clearly one of the rising stars of F1” as he welcomed his new driver to the team.

He said: “We are very pleased to welcome Esteban to Manor Racing for the remainder of the season. He is clearly one of the rising stars of F1, shining in his Reserve Driver role with Renault, while also competing in the DTM with Mercedes-AMG this year.

“Our team has made significant strides in 2016, including finishing in the points for the first time in Austria last month. We need to maintain our pace of development in order to achieve our ambitions, not only for this season but also for the longer-term, so the calibre of a replacement is key.

Pascal Wehrlein

“We’re confident that when Esteban makes his Grand Prix debut in Spa, we will have a very potent line-up with which to take the fight to our immediate competitors for the rest of the season.”

Ocon will now join Pascal Wehrlein in Manor’s driver line-up, which, as we outlined in these pages during the German Grand Prix, could be part of a development programme to slot him into a Renault seat in 2017.

Speaking about the new deal Cyril Abiteboul, Renault’s managing director, said: “Esteban joining Manor Racing for the last nine races of the season demonstrates the excellent relationship the two teams, Renault Sport Formula One Team and Mercedes-Benz, have maintained for several years.

Esteban Ocon

“It is an outstanding opportunity for Esteban to gather mileage and race experience in a young, stable and very professional team. Esteban will be up against a highly rated and quick teammate, which will enable us to evaluate him in a representative environment.

“I hope this experience will be of great benefit for him and for Renault in the near future.”

What do you make of the news that Ocon will join Manor for the rest of 2016? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Esteban Ocon
Teams McLaren Shop Now